Citrus Thyme Biscuits
2C all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp thyme (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp turmeric
zest of one lemon
zest of one orange
1C Greek yoghurt (for sweeter biscuits, go for vanilla-flavored)
5 tbsp unsalted butter
First thing’s first. Before you start reading this, take the butter out. It doesn’t have to be softened, but it helps since you’re using a fork instead of a mixer. OK, now to the important questions in life: why the heck is Greek yoghurt fat-free? Fat-free yoghurt seems ridiculous. (Admittedly, I never eat yoghurt, so any ideas I have about it are fuzzy and half-formed at best.) I heard all the hubbub about Greek yoghurt so I decided to make something with it, only to be horribly surprised when I arrived at the grocery store and realized what I was up against. It’s OK, though, because there’s still butter in the world. So I went with it, and the results were tangy, not-dried-out biscuits that I was perfectly happy with.
Anyway, yoghurt. Is that how you spell it? I’m pretty sure that’s the way Germans spell it, so I guess I’m going with that. Just like everything else I make, this recipe was born of an inkling to wing it. I was already in the grocery store, and I decided to make biscuits, so I bought some citrus and some yoghurt and did just that.
While I rarely recommend preheating the oven at the beginning of a lengthy recipe, this one is ridiculously quick and easy, so preheat to 350 before you begin. The next part is just like almost every other recipe I devise—put the dry ingredients in a big bowl and mix them together with a fork. I used dried thyme, but if you can get it fresh, I think it would add more flavor to the result.
Now for the fun step: zesting! (Again, a confession: this requires more than a fork and a bowl. You must have a grater. I apologize, but zesting with a fork would be silly and, frankly, really freaking difficult.) To zest your lemon or orange, simply grab it firmly and grate the entire peel into a neat little pile of amazingly colorful tiny orange or yellow curlies. Now you have naked fruit which, though I haven’t attempted to store it, I imagine will go bad rather quickly. So use it! Make a sauce or a dressing or a cocktail or a smoothie! But first, revel in your zest.
An aside regarding pictures (zest is quite photogenic): you have no doubt noted that I haven’t yet posted pictures with some of my recipes. This is not because I don’t want you to be happy, nor is it because I am unfamiliar with the inner workings of the camera-computer connection. It is because I am a damned fool and I lost my camera approximately one year ago, and so have to borrow one from a friend if I desire to take a picture. I’ll try to be better in the future because looking at food often makes me want to cook it, and I want to feed (sorry) your desires in the same way!
Now back to biscuits. Mix your zests into the dry ingredients with your fork, then add the egg and yoghurt and mix THEM in with the fork. THEN—wait for it—add the butter and mix THAT in with your fork. After mashing the butter up a bit, you’ll probably have to knead it into the dough with your hands. Don’t overdo it, but everything should be evenly mixed. If your mixture is still crumbly, add a tablespoon of butter at a time and knead in until you have a mildly sticky ball of homogeneity. If you need to, you can store this dough up to a day in the fridge before cooking. But if you do that, please don’t preheat your oven a day in advance.
Voila! Biscuit dough. Feels good, doesn’t it? Looks and smells good, too, if I remember correctly. My biscuits were about quarter-sized in diameter, which made for great bite-sized party favors for the potluck I attended. If you want bigger biscuits, go for about twice that size, but you’ll have to cook them longer. They don’t expand much while cooking—I fit fifteen per cookie sheet (I use non-stick, but parchment paper would work just as well). I baked them for 10 minutes at 350 and served ungarnished but still warm. They were succulent and screaming with flavor. (Non-fat) Greek yoghurt—who knew?